Early Childhood NewsK-12 News

Louisville Families Code with ScratchJr

Over a dozen families are getting together at Camp Taylor Elementary School in Louisville each week in September for KET’s ScratchJr workshops on introductory coding for young children.

Kids learn to snap together graphical building blocks to make characters walk, sing, and even join a dance party. Jefferson County Public Schools are implementing the program this year thanks to a Ready To Learn mini-grant distributed by KET.

The Camp Taylor workshops often draw as many adults as children. Family members of all ages—older and younger siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles—are welcome. The workshops are designed to foster collaboration and creativity within families and community—and boost confidence in tackling STEM activities.

“It’s important that the families see learning is easy and fun and they can have an impact on learning,” said Amanda Wright, KET’s director of early childhood education.

Included in the two-hour workshop is an evening meal—an important component of the program.

“The families don’t have to worry about food,” said Wright. “It’s another way to get families comfortable and bring families together around food to build community.”

The workshops are part of the federally funded Ready To Learn program. RTL engages families, especially those in low-income communities, in early learning activities featuring PBS KIDS content.

KET also awarded mini-grants to two other KET partners in the Community Collaborative for Early Learning & Media Projects: the Eastern Kentucky Child Care Coalition, which provided a workshop in Hazard, and the Floyd County Public Schools.

A video is being made of this year’s workshops for the Ready To Learn Stories of Success program. The video is unique this year in that footage is being gathered from the beginning to the end of the project, to show the growth in engagement and community building.

“We want to show the program from the first week to the end after families have grown comfortable and built that community,” Wright said.

Jefferson County Public Schools have partnered with KET for the Ready To Learn program for the past four years. The Camp Taylor program had a wait list, and JCPS has expressed interest in implementing another workshop in the future.